I came to Nicaragua days after finishing my final semester of college. It was my first time using Spanish abroad. It was longest time that I would spend away from home. However, I knew from my family and friends that I would be in good hands.
I arrived for the wedding of Yacarely and Kellan, Enlace Project’s co-founders. This was orientation in overdrive. It was the biggest Enlace Project party to date, and I was the new kid. Through this celebration of epic proportions, I saw how appropriate the name of this organization. Among partners from Nicaragua and the United States, I saw this enlace, this bond and this marriage of two cultures toward common goals. These intertwining partnerships create a strong network that welcome newcomers like me. With all of these amazing partners, I knew I had come to place where I could learn, collaborate, and grow.
In my English class, I have seen some students enter the class for the first time, some pass to higher levels, and other receive jobs using their English skills. As my students shared words of thanks during my last class, I was reminded of the years of work of past teachers and students that created a classroom culture where I could grow as a teacher. In my final words to my class, I encouraged them to continue to cultivate this atmosphere that welcomes new visitors, students, and teachers and facilitates cultural exchange.
During my eight months, I saw how Enlace Project supports new partners, allowing them to collaborate and
grow alongside new partners through experiences in host families, volunteer opportunities, and tourism. As a long-term intern, Enlace Project has helped me grow as a Spanish speaker, as a teacher, and as a professional.
While I was in Nicaragua, people often ask me about my favorite part of El Sauce and Nicaragua. Without a doubt, my answer was family. This includes my host family, my students, my co-workers, and all of the partners of Enlace Project near and far. As I look back on my eight months in El Sauce, I would like to thank you, the partners of Enlace Project. Over this past decade, you have grow this big family across cultural, linguistic and geographical boundaries. I look forward to working and celebrating as part of this family for years to come!